Tips on sound level setting playing live outdoors

I feel a bit foolish in asking for advice regarding the setting of sound levels because I have been doing it since the early ‘70s. But I have never had professional advice, so I thought I’d ask here.

When I complete a new rackspace in GP, I ensure that the levels are at 0db according to the meters using the drum machine as a benchmark. Next in the chain is a Focusrite Claret 2pre and I set that volume knob at 1/2 volume. From there, I connect directly to the PA stereo line in channel. I am using an HK Lucas Nano 608i which has iPad control via a Bluetooth mixer app, so no other mixer is required. The PA is rated for crowds up to 200 people. BTW - there is no manual gain adjustment on the PA control panel.

Yesterday at an outdoor gig, the limiter cut in a few times and I lost sound for a few seconds. This only happens with the music and not with my mic when singing. I had the master and channel cranked up to 3/4 volume because I was outside, whereas I usually perform with them both at 1/2 because the venues a smaller.

So, my questions are, where should I be setting the three volume options mention above? i.e.

  • Focusrite Claret - 1/2 or higher?
  • HK Lucas Nano 608i - master 1/2 or higher?
  • HK Lucas Nano 608i - stereo line in 1/2 or higher?

To get this clear: You were singing and playing music simultaneously and then the music was silenced, but the singing was still being amplified by the 608i?

If the singing was also cut off, I would say the overload protection kicked in.

The singing was cut off, but it was the overload from the music that did it, not the vocal level.

In that case I think the protection of the PA kicked in. When the limit has been reached and the PA itself starts distorting, it will become active. It doesn’t matter whether the master is at 3/4 and the line-in is at 1/2 or vice verse. The protection is in the endstages of the amplifier.

Performances in the open air take much more power, because the sound isn’t contained. It literally blows away.

So even raising the level of the output of the Focusrite from half to full won’t help?

If I understand your setup well, If you raise any of the levels (focusrite, 608i’s line-in or its master) the power amplifier will overload and shortly switch off its output. The only way to prevent this is lowering the signal somewhere in the chain: the protection measures the output that goes to the speakers.

If you need more power, you need a bigger amp and probably bigger speakers.

I remember we were once having a performance outside. The amplifier and speakers we used were under normal situations big enough, but outside it was really far below what we needed (and it wasn’t even a heavy metal band).

My two cents

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